Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Reciprocal? One way? Conditional or no matter what - what is love and respect for you?

Who are you to people who love you, what are they to you? What does every relationship mean to you? Do you evaluate and respond? Do you calculate and keep track of? Is it unconditional or comes with ifs and buts?

Last 10 days has been all about celebrating my big day, love and life Jaya style. It is not about messages /calls/VMs and FB posts, it is about how people make you feel and  that is an important factor. I got sarees, cards, gifts, bottles of wine, food, snacks and much more. A mom from the group dedicated a poem, this is the 3 rd year I am honored this way and feel truly blessed . But I cannot get it out of my mind, how do we decide to go beyond and above for some in our life but hold our emotions back for others, go all out for some and just ignore others.

My dad keeps a calendar and has been calling everyone he can to wish them on their birthdays and anniversaries for years. I wonder what keeps him going? We have Facebook and calendars to remind us but do you remember your friend’s birthdays? What will happen if Facebook doesn’t remind you?

All these discussions have their own place but I thoroughly enjoy my birthday season every year and this year was no exception. I ate, drank, partied and yes wore new sarees :) Yesterday was one more celebration with a dear friend. We are 4 familes - very close friends. . We meet on Birthday eve for a small celebration.  One of them was in India so 3 of us met on the 19th. Yesterday one of them took me out for a street food brunch, while another  one was also en route to India and I missed them terribly. SO decided to wear a saree bought by one of them and donned the jewelry gifted by another one on my 50th last year. 

What is your style? Do you wish and expect a response when it is your birthday? 

Happy husband - Indo Chinese at a local restaurant on a Monday night, a quiet dinner with husband. He finally got a spot on my calendar :) - one of the last Bday celebration 

Foodie son's gift, A sandwich basket from North End, Tiramisu couldn't make it to table
 The Bday celebration in a Italian Household 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Do we really know the people around us ? Texas saga -The invite, the home and the people in it.

Akshay is one of my best friend’s youngest brother, I think he was 4 since he has seen me in his home. His oldest sister Smita has been part of my life for almost 4 decades.

When Akshay moved to USA, he came to Boston and rented an apartment in the same colony we started our life, a short drive from our home. We loved having him and his family whenever they could make. It was always fun when 3 of us Balaghati met ( Mr Husband too is a Balaghati if you dont know yet :) whenever his mom visited him I got to spend time with her as a bonus. 

They moved to Dallas few years ago. His mom is visiting him now and that was a big enough reason for my Dallas trip.

While driving from Airport in Dallas, he pointed his office -NTT Data, I was surprised, asked if he changed the job and he clarified that he has been with the company from India itself. He is one of the senior directors.  I realized all these years I didn’t even ask what company he works for, He might have mentioned in the beginning but I may not have paid attention. I had never seen him in suit or formally dressed, he never talked about his position at work, talked about familes and life in general, always ready to listen to suggestions and advice, fun to feed and very grateful and always around to help in the Kitchen. We noticed similarities in our adventurous, outgoing and social personalities.

All these years our get togethers were more about food and fun, never about work. He has a very relaxed outlook in life so does his wife so we never heard them complain about work, boss or work related stress. In those 4 days I realized I really didn’t know him as a person.  The relationship he has with his kids, wife and mom, their overall lifestyle and philosophy, so many things to know and understand. I am so proud of him and his wife - how beautifully they compliment each other . Being with Aai (his mom) was such a treat, she cooked everything I like. The 5 yrs old son made me happy and the teen girl finally opened up to conversations the next day. By the end of my trip we had so many conversation about so many things.I miss his quiet, hardworking and sensitive wife, the observant and smart daughter and uff that cute boy who stole my heart. Some people and relationships are just simple and the trip to Dallas was just that, simple joy.

Sometime you need to see people in their own space to get to know them. Do you feel that? Do you do sleep-overs with friends? Or relationships are just living in present, going out for dinners and drinks and meet for get togethers. Do you really know people around you?

He doesn't enjoy alcohol but made sure I enjoy it texan style, he took me to grocery store, Indian store and a liquor store and a Costco - because he knew how much I will enjoy these than going to tha mall  
He loves cooking- didnt I say we are so similar 

3 of us spent the day in Dallas and Fortworth while rest of the family was chilling at home and everyone was happy wherever they were
JFK memorial in Dallas Downtown 
the spot where the shots were fired 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The 20 Moms together - What happens then?

This has been a fun weekend, Weather was perfect for the month of March.

I have been meaning to do this for quite sometime, introducing moms to one another in person. I believe in human connections and my Bday weekend was the perfect day to do this.

20 moms came to my home to celebrate one another. This was a day Anand was going back to his program after a week of spring week and It wasn’t the best time to say the least, we had our shares of ups and downs. But that morning he was shocked that I wasn’t going to drop him, never happened before. “You have to come” these words made my heart sing, I loved the idea that my son wants me to come with him. Anyway, I could convince him that I have invited some ladies to our home and I cannot change my plan last minute.

Dad went to drop him and my first born stayed behind to help me around and took later train to go back to his home.

Between those four and half hours my home hosted 19 moms who brought food, snacks, cakes, wine, flowers and gifts. I just made tea for everyone and we all had fun knowing one another better. Most of them met for the first time and I am sure they made wonderful memories, they put a name to a face and yes they talked about themselves. The ice breaker question was “what would you change from your past” we all talked about our life in India, here, families, husbands and other kids. I am so proud of all of them that they didn’t get stuck with diagnosis and therapies conversation. They really made my heart swell and fridge overflow with food. That one day we were just “us” I hope we can do that more often. Soon. 

We all were well fed that day and our fridge was filled with stuff. Did you knowThe love comes in form of biryani, Idlee Sambhar and many more dishes?

A simple linen was just perfect for that afternoon. 

I wish you could see the joy on those faces

Sunday, March 20, 2022

A dinner without any fuss - That is a real celebration

My Bday happened to be a busy day, well in a good way. I still have over 80 what’s app msgs to respond to, haven’t even checked on FB posts but will get to that sometime this week.

As this weekend is getting over a feeling of gratitude comes to mind even with tired body and brain. 

Saturday after I came back from that unplanned Bday celebration with a 4 yrs old Bday buddy, I got ready and logged into my panel discussion. Well, as a team we 5 women rocked it, so I felt. That whole discussion deserves a separate post. The topic was -“Community that Supports Your Authentic Self “ If you know me you know how much I can talk/write about it :)

As soon as the talk got over, 2 of my best friends who have known me forever came for tea brining another cake to cut. Our regular birth day celebration on the day. I so wish I could post those pics but they will kill me.

I love going to Boston for dinner and that would have been the case this year too but this year was different with such tight schedule and Ajey coming from city it didn’t make sense to go back to City again. Anand was little upset but agreed as it was MY bday so I could choose the place. I gave him choice of a new steakhouse in town and our usual Indian place. Chicken Tikka masala won over burger. 

Anand ordered what he wanted and loved the food, so did we all. For a change there wasn’t any commotion. It was really wonderful to have all of us sit together and have a wonderful dinner on the last night of spring break with Anand to celebrate my bday.

My day ended with tired body and happy mind. Numerous phone calls and msgs can wait but this post is my way of thanking each one of you who thought of me this weekend, wished me and celebrated my life. Please know your love and wishes make my life beautiful. And yes the cakes, flowers, sweets, gifts, wines and cards too :)  

My panelist look for the day 

Choices and choices - I ended up asking bartender to make his special drink
This is the celebration for me 

The celebration - friends, food, fun, fatigue and family a day full of everything

A late Friday night usually results in a late Saturday morning but not on your birthday. Specially when your early riser son is home. I came home very late and just couldn’t sleep right away. Well a shower past midnight after holi does that to you. The color washed off my body but remained in my heart and soul. I stayed awake reliving the moments. 

Anand was the first one to wish me and then numerous phone calls and messages took over a good chunk of my morning.

Today was also the vision of community conference by the Federation for children with special needs. I love this conference and this year I am part of the board and also a panelist , so it was more exciting. I started my day with a very simple agenda- Conference, my session in the afternoon, then a tea with some very close friends and a simple dinner with the Pandey men. 

Well I can plan whatever I want but it never works out that way. 

After calls and tea I logged in to the conference. My body very promptly reminded me that I should know my limit when it comes to dancing :) well, I got settled with my laptop and did the first session and a phone call changed all the plans.

There are 4 adults I share my birthday with (one of my own brother in law) and 2 kids who are the reason for their moms to be part of my circle and one other sibling from the group. 

Few weeks ago, one of these moms called me to discuss the birthday party. She went ahead and posted the invite in our group. Some of the moms accepted the invite and today those moms drove all the way to celebrate the birthday of a child they had never met. These moms actually were not only building their village but doing the same for their children too. She kept insisting I should come for a little bit but I just didn’t think it was possible, my own panel discussion was at 3 PM. 

I had to decline all the invites and visits for today from everyone for this very reason. 

When they met they decided to make a video call to wish me and insisted I should attend the party. Seeing them together did something to me and I got ready in 10 mins and drove 35 mins to be there. It was a crazy impulsive decision but felt just right.

I met those 8 moms who were doing exactly what I had wished and wanted 15 years ago. They made me proud and happy. We all were overjoyed. I got to meet some dads too. I came back home having just enough time to change into a saree. I didn’t have anything ready but by the end of the day everything fell into place. 

A wore a beautiful saree, a gift from a dear friend, who is an integral part of my village. I couldn’t paint my nails, neither iron my saree but spent some time squeezing my Birthday buddy, kissing a baby from the group, hugged an expecting mom and met in person some of those moms who believed in my vision, took a chance and drove long and far not only to celebrate a birthday but to make some new friends, fulfill some promises, dream and build their village and be there for each other.

The Saga continues. Story about panel discussion, a hurried Tea and then birthday dinner next. 

A snuggle with my Bday buddy 

the amazing moms